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START Houston

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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

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Schedule

Friday

Jul 27
  • Registration, Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speaker
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday

Jul 28
  • Venue opens
  • Breakfast & coffee
  • Teams form and set up workspace for the weekend
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon snack
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Dinner

Sunday

Jul 29
  • Venue opens
  • Breakfast & coffee
  • Lunch
  • Slide decks are due
  • Presentations start
  • Networking mixer
  • Awards and winners announced
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsors
Speakers

Jay Steinfeld

CEO of Blinds.com   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Jay Steinfeld is the founder and CEO of Blinds.com, the world’s largest online window coverings store. After starting a small chain of window coverings retail stores in Houston, TX, he launched the first blinds Web site in 1993.
Jay is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Inc.com columnist with a passion for singing in harmony and studying leadership.

Blinds.com honors include the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year, Houston's Best Place to Work, Award of Excellence by the Better Business Bureau and National Call Center of the Year.

Bryan Guido Hassin

CEO Smart Office Energy Solutions   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Bryan Guido Hassin is a global cleantech entrepreneur currently launching his fourth venture, Smart Office Energy Solutions. Bryan has an MBA from IMD (Switzerland) and degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Rice University, where he is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship.

Judges

Bryan Guido Hassin

CEO Smart Office Energy Solutions   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Bryan Guido Hassin is a global cleantech entrepreneur currently launching his fourth venture, Smart Office Energy Solutions. Bryan has an MBA from IMD (Switzerland) and degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Rice University, where he is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship.

Jeff Reichman

Principal at January Advisors   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Jeff is a Principal at January Advisors, a firm that he founded in 2009. January Advisors develops ideas, builds products, and finds customers for companies looking to innovate.

Before January Advisors, Jeff led innovation projects for Choice Hotels International, a major lodging franchisor. He was also a B2B marketing consultant for large technology companies like Microsoft, and he began his career as a sales/service/programmer/designer/all around product guy for two software startups.

Jeff holds an MA in Creative Writing and a BA in English from Temple University, where he taught for two years. Aside from work, he's passionate about storytelling, entrepreneur education, songwriting, and baseball.

Nathan Eror

Founder at Free Time Studios   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Dad, iOS & Mac developer, Founder of Free Time Studios, Texan

Greg Wright

Director of IT Acceleration - Houston Technology Center   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Greg Wright is the director of the Houston Technology Center’s IT Acceleration program, where he and his team of seasoned mentors help tech startups build their executive team, identify their target market, develop their go to market strategy, prepare for raising capital, and meet funders and customers. Greg is a mentor at the SURGE seed accelerator. He runs the coaching program for the SXSW Accelerator and founded the HATCH startup pitch competition. He is also a Virtual CTO for mid size companies at Mbira Group and vice president of the Houston Area Apple User Group.

Greg’s experience spans management consulting, enterprise technology, and executive roles. He has co-founded, managed, and mentored startups after a consulting career at Accenture, CSC, and Sapient.

Marc Nathan

Director of Business Development - Forthea Interactive   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Muj Naqvi

Founder of Bonvoy   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Muj Naqvi is founder of Bonvoy, an angel funded social travel startup. Bonvoy has been featured USA Today, Men's Health, Frommers, The Houston Chronicle, and in 2010 was recognized as a "Travel Innovator" company. Muj was a judge in Amadeus' "Ideas For Travel" competition which awarded over 30,000 Euros. In 2011 Muj was selected as part of "Class of 35" which highlighted emerging young leaders in the travel technology space. Prior to Bonvoy, Muj was a social entrepreneur working in the nonprofit sector and also served as an Assistant Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Coaches

Bryan Guido Hassin

CEO Smart Office Energy Solutions   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Bryan Guido Hassin is a global cleantech entrepreneur currently launching his fourth venture, Smart Office Energy Solutions. Bryan has an MBA from IMD (Switzerland) and degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Rice University, where he is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship.

Jeff Reichman

Principal at January Advisors   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Jeff is a Principal at January Advisors, a firm that he founded in 2009. January Advisors develops ideas, builds products, and finds customers for companies looking to innovate.

Before January Advisors, Jeff led innovation projects for Choice Hotels International, a major lodging franchisor. He was also a B2B marketing consultant for large technology companies like Microsoft, and he began his career as a sales/service/programmer/designer/all around product guy for two software startups.

Jeff holds an MA in Creative Writing and a BA in English from Temple University, where he taught for two years. Aside from work, he's passionate about storytelling, entrepreneur education, songwriting, and baseball.

Nathan Eror

Founder at Free Time Studios   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Dad, iOS & Mac developer, Founder of Free Time Studios, Texan

Mark Streich

Startup Advisor   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Mark advises technology start-ups in Southeast Texas through the University of Houston. He has experience starting and funding companies in a variety of high tech markets. He provides product, valuation, and strategy advice, as well as executive coaching. Several of his clients have received $1+ million in funding or have been acquired. Mark has assisted clients in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. His education includes degrees in Economics, Computer Science, and International Business. Mark recently gained public notoriety when Toastmasters named him "2nd Funniest Man in Houston."

Kristi L. Jackson

Founder, Women CEO Project   |   LinkedIn

Kristi L. Jackson, MBA is an Award Winning Humanitarian, Founder of Women CEO Project, was recently recognized by the White House as a Citizen Innovator and Entrepreneur and invited to DC to participate on the Social Opportunity Series Forum July 3, 2012.

Gira Desai

Cofounder Aleberry Creative Group   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Gira co-founded Aleberry Creative Group in 2009.

Aleberry Creative Group is an award-winning design studio based in Houston.
ABCG specializes in branding & design, and has been showcased by Adobe since 2011.

Gira is a graphic designer, entrepreneur, and lover of colors & typography.

William Bradley

Cofounder Aleberry Creative Group   |   LinkedInGoogle+

William co-founded Aleberry Creative Group in 2009.

Aleberry Creative Group is an award-winning design studio based in Houston.
ABCG specializes in branding & design, and has been showcased by Adobe since 2011.

William is a graphic designer and entrepreneur. He brings his passion for minimalism and problem solving to every design.

Greg Wright

Director of IT Acceleration - Houston Technology Center   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Greg Wright is the director of the Houston Technology Center’s IT Acceleration program, where he and his team of seasoned mentors help tech startups build their executive team, identify their target market, develop their go to market strategy, prepare for raising capital, and meet funders and customers. Greg is a mentor at the SURGE seed accelerator. He runs the coaching program for the SXSW Accelerator and founded the HATCH startup pitch competition. He is also a Virtual CTO for mid size companies at Mbira Group and vice president of the Houston Area Apple User Group.

Greg’s experience spans management consulting, enterprise technology, and executive roles. He has co-founded, managed, and mentored startups after a consulting career at Accenture, CSC, and Sapient.

Marc Nathan

Director of Business Development - Forthea Interactive   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Sameer Soleja

Adjunct - University of Houston   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Sameer is a founder from the inaugural SURGE Accelerator (www.surgeaccelerator.com) class in Houston. His background is in custom software development for the energy industry, using technologies like .Net, Oracle, SQL Server, and the LAMP stack. Sameer teaches an advanced software development class at the University of Houston's Bauer School of Business, and he holds MBA and Master of Public Policy degrees from the University of Michigan.

Muj Naqvi

Founder of Bonvoy   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Muj Naqvi is founder of Bonvoy, an angel funded social travel startup. Bonvoy has been featured USA Today, Men's Health, Frommers, The Houston Chronicle, and in 2010 was recognized as a "Travel Innovator" company. Muj was a judge in Amadeus' "Ideas For Travel" competition which awarded over 30,000 Euros. In 2011 Muj was selected as part of "Class of 35" which highlighted emerging young leaders in the travel technology space. Prior to Bonvoy, Muj was a social entrepreneur working in the nonprofit sector and also served as an Assistant Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

D.C. Toedt

Business Law Attorney   |   LinkedInGoogle+

I’m a business lawyer in private practice in Houston

Apurva Sangavi

Co-Founder START Houston

Apurva Sanghavi, is co-founder of START, Houston's first Tech Coworking space. Born & raised in Houston TX, Apurva started a traditional mortgage branch with Network Funding 2 years ago, he's grown to nearly 16 employees and broken $1MM In revenues their first year alone. He used his technology background from working at Trulia.com for 2 years in NYC to help him learn to scale a traditional industry such as mortgages to a faster online operation. He also recently partnered with Houston tech entrepreneur Gaurav Khandelwal to create START to help bolster Houston's startup & mobile community.

Sathish Raju

Co-Founder Gainify

Sathish is an Entrepreneur, a techie and a yoga enthusiast. Having Co-Founded Gainify through Techcrunch Hackathon, he acted as CTO for Gainify responsible for the entire architecture of Gainify. He also founded ErpDeck, an online training platform for ERP Professionals. He has a computer science and engineering from College Of Engineering, Anna University, India. He is currently involved in founding/developing FirstBetaOut, an online platform to help Non Technical Entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into production ready application within short span of time. Sathish has sound experience in building complex web applications. Apart from building apps, he is an ardent yoga and meditation practitioner and also currently authoring a book called Entrepreneurs and Yoga. He is also the organizer/host for the Ruby on Rails meetup group in Houston called as RailsCrazy.

Nick Tillman

Principal of Octopus International   |   LinkedIn

Nick Tillmann is the Principal of Octopus International, a consulting firm specializing in strategy and international business development. Nick’s experience includes 25 years with ConocoPhillips, a global integrated energy company. From 2004 to 2006, he managed the company’s $500 MM calcined petroleum coke business. Earlier, he led strategy management for Conoco’s European businesses and started from scratch the company’s business in Poland, building the leading retail fuel and c-store network in the country. His other roles included international crude oil supply operations, lubricants and the commercialization of technology-based products such as flow improvers, advanced separation systems and carbon products. Nick has lived and worked in the US, Austria, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom and has led business development projects in the US, Europe, South America and the Middle East. He speaks German and Polish, and has a working knowledge of Czech and Spanish

Amitav Misra

Independent Consultant   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Amitav is an independent consultant providing growth advisory services to the energy industry. Previously he worked in marketing, strategy, finance, and investment roles in public and private energy and investment companies. Amitav was also a consultant in the Houston office of McKinsey & Co., a global management consultancy, and an investment professional at The View Group, an international private equity and venture capital firm.

Sarah Groen

Cofounder and Director of SURGE Accelerator   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Sarah is the Co-founder and Director of SURGE Accelerator, the country’s first and only energy focused business accelerator. Sarah manages relationships with hundreds of energy investors around the country, coordinates the investment process and program, and acts as a mentor to SURGE founders.

Prior to SURGE, Sarah was a private equity investor, a mergers and acquisitions analyst, and a strategy consultant. She also has an MBA from Stanford where she focused on entrepreneurship and worked for a start-up.

Sarah was recently invited to speak on entrepreneurship and energy at the MIT/DOE Symposium on Women in Clean Energy, the West Houston Leadership Institute, and at a Stanford GSB event.

Hesam Panahi

Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Houston   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Houston, teaching management information systems and entrepreneurship. 1st place Houston Startup Weekend November 2011, 2nd place Houston Startup Weekend February 2011.

Media Sponsors
Organizers
Javid Jamae
Hesam Panahi
Emmie Chang
Austin Fatheree
Aaron Woo
Grace Rodriguez
May Borras
Al Jameson
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